Exclusive: Tyler Perry Talks ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows’

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Exclusive: Tyler Perry Talks ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows’
Posted by Wilson Morales

May 31, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows poster 3

Coming out this week is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the sequel to the 2014 hit, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Back with The Turtles (Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael) and returning for the sequel are Megan Fox as as April O’Neil and Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick as they try to save the city from a dangerous threat, specifically Shredder (Brian Tee), mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams), Rocksteady (Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly) and the notorious Krang (Brad Garrett).

For Tyler Perry, this is a change of pace after getting stellar reviews for his performance in David Fincher’s Gone Girl. While he continues his daily duties as producer to many TV shows including For Better or Worse, The Haves and the Have Nots, Love Thy Neighbor, and If Loving You Is Wrong, he’s also traveling at times doing tours with his signature role, Madea. Last year, he did a production on Madea on the Run. Later this year, the film Boo! A Madea Halloween will hit theaters.

In speaking exclusively with Blackfilm.com, Perry talks about doing this film, having fun, Madea’s comeback and his TV shows.

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After doing and getting rave reviews for Gone Girl, how did ‘Turtles’ come about for you?

Tyler Perry: First of all, I wanted to do something that my son could see and something that he would be proud of one day. He’s not watching movies just yet, but eventually he will be and I wanted to do something different. You’re carrying them (kids) in your thoughts when you go into work. So this is one of those moments.

Did they come to you, or you went after them?

Tyler Perry: No, I got a phone call from them. You know, I haven’t gone after any movies. Everything that’s come to me, has been a phone call to me, asking me if I wanted to do it. So I was pretty excited about the opportunity.

How much did you know about Baxter’s part? Did you read about him?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows 25 Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman

Tyler Perry: Nothing. I didn’t even know there was an African-American scientist in this whole franchise until I went back and looked at the comic books, and thought, “Whoa, okay this guy’s black and he was in the beginning. Oh yeah, I want to be part of this.”

As busy as you are with the many projects you handle, did you ask them, “why me?”

Tyler Perry: No, I never asked why me. I looked at it and I go, I think I can do this. They came down and pitched the idea, pitched the story to me. I thought, okay, I’m in.

Tyler Perry at TMNT2 premiere

What did you do that’s the same from the comic book, or that’s different?

Tyler Perry: I don’t know much about the comic book, and what I try not to do is take a lot of that in. I just want to go in and create my own world inside of it. Create my own character so that I’m doing the best that I can do. Still being true to what I know it to be, but I don’t want to go letter per letter for what was already there a long time ago.

People know you have comedic chops from what you did with the Medea films, so is it a different aspect bringing in a little back into this movie?

Tyler Perry: Yeah, it was. Well, first of all playing a nerd is just fun and brilliant scientist, it was fun. So yeah, I had an opportunity to go back and just use what I know and use those comedic beats, but also just let go in this character.

Did you watch the previous Turtles films, or the ones in the past?

Tyler Perry: Yeah, I have. This was even before I’d known that this offer was coming. I watched this thing with a friend of mine. I was, “I don’t want to watch this, it’s for kids.” “No, you’ll love it.” We watched it and it was really great.

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Can you tell who the Turtles are?

Tyler Perry: With their colors on them, no. No, I need the bandannas on to tell who they are.

Who’s your favorite?

Tyler Perry: It is definitely Michelangelo. He’s the funniest. Yeah.

Just working with this cast, how was that? What was the set like?

Tyler Perry: I wasn’t on set very … This movie was shot over a long, long time. I wasn’t on set. I didn’t travel to a lot of places. Just came to New York for a few days and shot, but they were very welcoming. They were very open. I had a great experience with it.

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You say you’re doing it for your kid one day, I think you said. Hopefully, the franchise will continue to build. What do you think it is about the Turtles that keeps living on through different franchises?

Tyler Perry: I just think people are endeared to them. They feel for them, they know the characters. There’s something very human, very fluid, very open and warm about them that makes people keep coming back to them. They’re good guys, they want to save the world.

So is this a new approach now, obviously as you’re thinking about the films you want to do, and the films you’re being asked to do? Like, knowing who’s going to see them and you have a son now. He’s young now, but what more do you want to do, as far as roles?

Tyler Perry: I’m open to whatever comes. Again, if it speaks to me, then I’m in. It could be all over the place. There’s not one specific genre that I want to stay in. I don’t like being in a box, so we’ll see what comes.

Boo A Madea Halloween logo

You got a Medea film coming out later on. Some people thought the franchise was buried, but it’s back. Can you say a little bit about that, as far as why a new Medea?

Tyler Perry: Because I tell you, I just thought for me, it was done. Then the last movie did really, really great and then I went out on tour. These people are still selling out these theaters. It’s blowing my mind that 20,000 people are still packing theaters, selling them out on these weekends when I was out on tour for the last year and a half. So I said, okay, then we need to do another movie. This is the funniest thing I’ve ever done. Funniest thing I’ve ever done, hands down. It’s hysterical.

You keep reinventing things that you do. That’s the one constant that people are looking forward to. Can you keep it up for a long time? Or is there an end game to it?

Tyler Perry: The end game is when people stop coming, because for me, I’ve been thinking for a long time now, that it was done. Every time I think it’s done, the box office is incredible. People love it. Until that fades, then why stop. It’s a franchise. It should keep going.

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“For Better, For Worse” came back on May 27th for a fifth season. Talk to me about just keeping that franchise going as you’ve done with the other shows in the past.

Tyler Perry: For Better, For Worse has been great. All of the shows have been great. It’s been going for a long time. Looking at it, looking very closely at it, I love that. Again, people are loving it, they’re enjoying it. It’s done really, really well for OWN.

You’ve got a project with Discovery? Is it the Discovery channel?

Tyler Perry: Yeah, well that’s OWN. That’s Discovery, Discovery owns part of OWN and TLC, so it’s all in the same family.

Discovery Channel

Okay, for the record, because people probably don’t understand that. You haven’t left OWN, it’s all part of the same franchise.

Tyler Perry: Yeah, Discovery owns TLC, Discovery owns part of OWN, it’s all the same franchise. So it’s all in the family. The show has the right to run on TLC and on OWN, so it’s all still in the family.

Have you ever thought of a project that you think is too challenging to do?

Tyler Perry: No, and if I did, I’d want to face it. I’m always running to what I’m afraid of. I would stare it down, and go right for it. Grab it by the horns and try to make it happen, but no. No, I’m doing everything that I want to do. I’m doing every show that I want to do. There’s nothing that I haven’t, that I want to accomplish that I haven’t had the opportunity to do just yet.

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In some people’s eyes, Gone Girl took you to another level, because you were able to work with David Fincher. They saw you in a big serious movie that got talked about and so forth. Did anything happen after that, in terms of you getting more phone calls, offered more roles and you decided if you want to take it.

Tyler Perry: There wasn’t thousands of roles of coming my way. That’s not how it works, but there were lots of offers to pay attention to. Again I had to turn down most of them because it didn’t work because of timing or the script wasn’t right. I didn’t want to try to recreate that. It’s all about for me, does it speak to me, number one. Then the timing, does it fit into the schedule. So, there’s a lot of other things that I’m working on that are more important to me than being an actor for hire.
Tyler Perry and Stephen Amell

What’s number one for you? Producer, acting or directing?

Tyler Perry: None. They don’t take precedence over each other. They all have their own places. I’m different people when I’m doing each one of them.

Father’s Day is coming up Congratulations. Anything special planned out?

Tyler Perry: Thank you. I don’t know. I don’t know what mommy’s planned. He’s too young to plan anything, but as long as I just get to spend a day with him, I’m good. On Father’s Day, with nothing going on. We’ll just spend the day together, that’s just great for me.

What have you seen outside of your own projects that you appreciate, film-wise? Do you get a chance to go out to movies?

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Tyler Perry: You know what, I’m looking forward to Nate Parker’s film, man. I’m so looking forward to that, I cannot wait to see it. I’m hearing, the buzz on it is incredible. So I’m just waiting to see Birth of a Nation.

Why should anyone see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Out of the Shadows?

Tyler Perry: It’s really good. It’s really good and it’s got a great message. The comedy in it is off the chain. Go to the movies, relax. Clear your head for a couple hours. Have some fun, laugh and enjoy big action. It’s just fun.


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